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The last decade saw a major housing boom, followed by a cataclysmic bust, and the net result was a declining rate of home ownership in California, according to a new analysis of 2010 census data by University of Southern California demographer Dowell Myers.

Beyond the raw numbers, says Myers, the census data revealed a generational and ethnic transfer between an aging white population and a relatively young Latino population. During the last decade, white home ownership dropped by 157,877 units while Latino-owned homes increased by 383,778 with the latter group accounting for more than three-quarters of ownership growth in the state.

The overall increase in owner-occupied homes, just under a half-million during the decade, was less than half the numerical increase in the 1980s and the state's overall home ownership rate, 55.9 percent, is one percentage point lower than it was in 2000 and the second lowest rate in the nation, just ahead of New York.

Within California, home ownership rates vary widely from a low of 35.8 percent in densely populated San Francisco to well over 70 percent in foothill and mountain counties.

The slowing incidence of home ownership, Myers noted, lessens upward pressure on home prices in the supply-demand equation.

The full study from USC's Population Dynamics Research Group can be found here.


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